Interest in the environment and green building has moved beyond installing energy efficient appliances and swapping out incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents. With luxury condos touting eco-friendly features like rain water recycling and construction companies incorporating energy saving features into new homes, it's no wonder real estate professionals say more and more potential home buyers are asking about "green homes."
With demand for environmentally friendly homes blossoming across the country, one way to make a home stand out in a stalled real estate market is to retro-fit it to green standards. Below are some tips from the professionals at Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation on how to make your home sustainable, energy- and cost-efficient now, to appeal to eco-conscious homebuyers later.
Replace hardwood floors with renewable materials. While hardwood has been the flooring of choice for the past several years, bamboo floors are
much more eco-friendly because bamboo grows quickly and can be easily replaced. In the kitchen, linoleum floors, made from solidified linseed oil, wood flour or cork dust over a burlap or canvas backing, is very eco-friendly compared to modern floor coverings made from polyvinyl chloride.
Don't flush away your money. Consider replacing existing commodes with low-flow toilets which use approximately 20 percent less water per flush, or dual-flush toilets with two buttons to give home owners the choice of flushing with a half- or full tank.
A ray of light. In many neighborhoods, owning a home on the north side of the street has always been more desirable than ones on the south side. South-facing windows provide more natural daylight, making a home more bright and cheery. More importantly, natural daylight helps keep indoor climate comfortable during the
winter months, allowing a homeowner to lower the thermostat. Alternatively, drawing shades during key daylight hours during the summer can help cut down on air conditioning needs.
Green gardening. Sustainable landscaping is becoming all the rage to eco-conscious home owners. Planting native plants, vegetation and shade trees strategically around a home will keep it cool during the summer and block cold winds during the winter. Native vegetation thrives in its preferred environment and won’t require excess water. In addition, concrete driveways and patios can be replaced with permeable paving materials, allowing water to pass through to the ground, in turn reducing runoff that erodes soil and causes flooding of sewer systems.